Black Beacon Awards presented

The Burke County Black Coalition presented its 2008 Black Beacon Awards program recently, commemorating the 83rd African American History Month with the theme “Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism.”

The Shelley Coleman Achievement Award was presented to Michael Searles for creating the “Cowboy Mike” persona, helping audiences better understand the western experience of the American black cowboy and as co-author of the book “Buffalo Soldiers in the West: A Black Soldier’s Anthology.” The award is given to an individual who, through consistency and longevity, has achieved success in a chosen profession, career or service.

Neal C. Leonard Sr. received the Herman Lodge Public Service Award for rendering 15 years of outstanding public service as a councilman for Ward 2 of Waynesboro and receiving the recognition of having a street, “Leonard Circle,” named in his honor.

Others receiving awards were Lucious Abrams Jr., who was given the Community Service Award for his 20 years of dedicated service to the Burke County Department of Family and Children Services board; Dr. Roderick Sams, the Education Award for implementing programs to foster academic achievement and student support as principal of Blakeney Elementary; and athletics recognition awards were presented to Purvis Dukes for coaching the Burke County High School boys basketball team to its first region championship game since 1988 and Willie Dukes as a volunteer coach of youth and adult softball for 28 years with the Burke County Recreation Department.

The Black Beacon Awards are designed to honor individuals for their contributions of achievements as African Americans.

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